After last night's silly post, I worte up the outline for this.
Ok, here's the major problem. I'm jumping the gun and writing the first installment a day early. I have 10 installments outlined for this, but no Word in which to type it. And my e-mail doesn't currently have the nice delay function. Sooo...I'm going to get part one done. My goal is to give a new part each day ending on Hallowe'en. If worse comes to worst, I can always re-do the ending I have on the outline and carve a new part into it. Otherwise, I'll just skip a day at some point.
It was already shaping up to be one of the best haunted houses I could take my girlfriend to. Valerie is scared by just about everything in these things, making her all kinds of fun. One of my few joys was getting her between me and the masked folk with the chainsaws. A woman, a masked actor with a chainsaw...cheap entertainment, if I say so myself.
The problem I always have with these things is that I'm not scared by anything in them. I can see the scare points before they happen, I know that the chainsaw will just tickle if it hits me, and I know what is real and what is just a cheap trick.
Valerie, on the other hand, is scared by everything. I keep telling her that nothing can hurt her, but she runs at the first sound of the chainsaw. And she jumps when the monsters run at her. Poor girl.
You can always tell when you're at the end of one of these things. They usually have at least 5 chainsaws running ready to chase everyone out. This one is no exception. No sooner do we cross into the strobelit graveyard than 10 men with chainsaws jump out from behind the headstones. Valerie grabs me and starts running. I keep walking slowly, savoring the fear as she screams. As much as she claims to hate them, she gets all worked up afterwords, and then wants to cuddle until she feels safe again. I love haunted houses.
The chainsaw man runs up trying to separate us. Valerie lets go of my arm and makes a mad dash for the exit gate. I laugh to myself and meander past the screaming women being herded out and make my own way to the gate, where Valerie is glaring at me.
"Why do you drag me to these things?" she asks, tightly gripping gripping my arm again. "You know how much I hate them."
"I know," I reply, laughing. "But I also like how alive you seem when we're in one together. The only other time I see that emotion out of you is when we're in bed together."
"Murphy, drive me home."
"Drive me home. You can then drive yourself back to your dorm. You have just lost the privledge of having me in your bed tonight."
She stalks off to my little truck. Women. So I open her door, like a good boyfriend, and she glares at me. I get in the truck, start it, and crank the heat so we can drive back to Ohio State in relative comfort, but the heat doesn't seem to want to thaw the cold spot to the right of me.
I turn on the radio, since she isn't talking to me. I hate driving in silence. We head across 670 to 315, and she still hasn't saidf a word to me. I pull up in front of her dorm, Morrill Tower, and get out to open her door, but she shrugs off my attempt at chivelry and walks up the steps. I turn to get back in the truck.
"I'll talk to you tomorrow after History!" she yells down. even here, 52 steps away from her, I hear the daggers in that shout.
I drive off in silence to Jones Tower, my dorm half a mile away.
Valerie and I both have a Medieval History class in Lord Hall on Fridays. This is how we originally met. She's and SCA nut, I just needed the class for elective credit. As it turns out, we're two of about 10 people who actually show up for all the classes rather than just for tests. One day I asked her to go for coffee at the Wexner Center, and she accepted. We've been dating ever since. Last night was our second haunted house together. The close we get to Hallowe'en, the more I like to go have people try to scare me. Valerie understood this quirk at first, but now she seems worried by it.
I take the Campus Bus to class, since it beats trying to find parking. I walk in, and sit next to Valerie. She glances up, and says hi. The professor walks in, and we spend yet another day of listening to the economic advantage of feudal life. Valerie is enthralled. I'm bored. I keep hoping we'll hit the crusades and the plague soon, since war and disease hold more interest for me than a bunch of serfs suffering under the crushing weight of fat lords. It keeps reminduing me of the current economy.
After class ends, Valerie takes my hand and we walk to the Wexner Center for our usual after class Starbucks fix. She gets her usual vanilla cappucino, while I opt for quintuple espresso. As ususal, I foot the bill on my BuckID. We sit at our usual table. She isn't looking at me. This is a bad sign.
"I can't believe how crass you were last night, Murphy."
"What did I say?"
"You made a comment about our sex life as if you only care about the thrill of it."
"Valerie, I didn't mean it like that. All I meant was that only when you're scared or when we're fucking do you seem to be more than a marionette pulled along by invisible strings."
She slaps me. I probably deserve it.
"I don't like being scared, Murphy," she hisses at me. "I don't like having masked men running after me with weapons. I like you a lot. I might even love you. But what I cannot stand about you is your macho inability to see when you cross a line. I went last night because I wanted to see you happy. Happy because you enjoyed it, not because of my fear."
I hate it when she's like this. "Grow up, Valerie," I say loudly enough for the three other people in the room to hear. "Nothing there can harm you. None of those men are your father, your brother or any of the other men you seem so scared of. I want a girlfriend who can share this with me. Haunted Houses are only open once a year. I've been to two plays with you that held no interest for me because I love you, and I want to be with you. And now that I ask you to do the same for me, you act like this."
"Fine. Then go on your own from now on. I love you, but I don't want to go to any more of these damn things. Call me when you get it out of your system." With that, Valerie hops out of her chair and runs out of the cafeteria. I run after her.
I find her staring at the glass shard sculpture that surrounds the Wex. I hold her from behind. She's crying.
"You're right," she says. "I'm like this damn sculpture. Sharp and broken. But I really just want a night with you where we both can have fun. I didn't know you didn't like the plays."
I laugh. "Well, we could always try and see a movie."
She laughs a bit at that. "Let me guess. You'll want to see a horror flick, and be disgusted when I suggest a romantic comedy."
I smile and hold her tighter. "Well, we could compromise and watch _Psychos in Love_..."
"I love you Murphy. You may be a macho bastard, but you always know what to say."
I take her hand and lead her to the bus stop. We ride back to my dorm together. We usually go to hers, mainly because she has a real bed instead of the dorm killer bed. But Friday at Morrill Tower is mass chaos. We take the elevator up to my floor, and we walk to my room. An envelope with my name is taped to the door. I unlock the door and lead us into my single. She sits on the bed, while I open the letter.
"Dear Murphy," I read aloud. "Congratulations! You have been selected to experience 'The Portal', the only invitation-only Haunted House in Ohio. Word has reached us that you are one of the few not afraid of anything. We'd like to disprove that for you. For the price of $25 you and a guest will be treated to the best in haunted house entertainment. In fact, we guarantee that if you are not fully satisfied, we will refund you money. In fact, if you make it through 'The Portal' with out turning back, we will refund $10 of your admission. Please come with your guest to this location on October 31st at 11 PM." A map is attached at the bottom. The house is across the county line in Gahana.
I look up at Valerie. "So, what play are you going to make me sit through to get you to go to this?"
Part two will go up tomorrow sometime after I get home from work. And I now remember why I hate writing in first person present tense. But it's the only way I can pull this off.
I had a really long night at work. But my next paycheck will be really big again!
Not much going on. Mom is still having health issues, and I'm having troubles focusing on any one thing long enough to take care of it. I really need a vacation.
Oh, and one of my roomies and I had a long conversation about how many songs are really masturbation references. I wmay never listen to "Turning Japanese" again.